Monday, May 03, 2010

How Dumb are We?

I have become quite unsettled by the destruction of a deep sea oil rig off the Louisiana coast and the resulting catastrophic oil leak that is occurring as I am writing this. Thousands upon thousands of barrels of oil are pouring into the ocean from the bottom up fouling the habitat of so many marvelous creatures with no apparent end in sight. It seems that this rig and others were built with no allowance made for a catastrophe such as this one. We are more than foolish to expect that corporate policy – dedicated to the accruing of endless streams of profit – is going to accommodate the interests of humanity in its calculations.

Are we as a species really that monumentally stupid and short-sighted? Are we that intent upon destroying the natural environment on which we depend? It’s not like we live on a disposable planet and when we use up all its resources and begin to reap the reward of our own imbecility we can merely pack our bags and move to another heavenly body and ravage it in due course.

Do we really intend to continue to allow petty and narrow corporate interests to determine public policy? Oil seems to be more important than our long term survival; then the well being of the marvelous creatures that live right along with us. Our incessant need for stuff made of plastic, for cheap travel, for convenience, for personal self indulgence seems to trump intelligence, thoughtfulness and reason. This, in my mind, makes us dumber than dumb. Dumbness as a concept needs to be redefined in light of human behavior.

Some of us are quite convinced that we are all doomed; because, our fate has been determined for us. Those who passionately profess such a mindset are eagerly expecting some white-frocked messiah to descend upon us, blow his whistle like an irate football empire, cry foul and stop the show. In this way we will be saved from ourselves. It seems that the excesses of the industrial age are converging upon us, and we are faced with some difficult choices. An insistence on maintaining the status quo is no solution at all.

We have pulled the cork out of the genie’s bottle; the wishes that have come true are literally killing us. It is time to engage reason and actually begin to apply the knowledge that has already been gained from science and truly join the twenty-first century.

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